C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Watts.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: rarebooks@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© October 2001
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs
Dates (inclusive): approximately 1840-1930
Bulk dates: 1880-1920
Collection Number: photCL Pierce
Creator: Pierce, C. C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946
Extent: 10,100 photographs in 63 boxes (51.19 linear feet)
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: rarebooks@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: The C.C. Pierce collection constitutes one of the most important collections of historical photographs of early California and Los Angeles extant. The collection of 10,100 prints was assembled by Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946), a photographer and long-time operator of a thriving Los Angeles photographic business. The collection is divided into nine topical headings devised by Pierce. These include Los Angeles Historical; Indians; Missions; California cities, counties, etc.; Industries and Agriculture; Transportation; Natural History; Art and Architecture; and Miscellaneous Scenery. Within these large sections are smaller categories that focus on the history, landscape, people, civic and cultural events, built environment, and development of Southern California and the Southwest from approximately 1845-1930. Of particular interest are the various Indian tribes depicted as well as all twenty-one of the California Missions.
Language: English.

Access

The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Purchased by the Friends of the Huntington Library in 1939.

Processing Information

The collection was numbered and catalog cards were created by Huntington staff sometime after its purchase. In the mid-1990s, Huntington staff housed and boxed the collection. In 2001, the original finding aid was created based on the original numbering scheme.

Biographical Note

Charles Chester Pierce was born on November 22, 1861, in Springfield, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Pierce migrated to Southern California in 1886. Pierce began his photographic career in the thriving boom town of Los Angeles, first in partnership with Albert H. Lohn, and then successively with J.B. Blanchard and A.E. McConnell. He established his own studio around 1900 at 313 Spring Street. He moved several times during his career, eventually expanding his business to include the sale of photographic supplies. The most outstanding aspect of his business, however, was the vast picture library he amassed over three decades at work. Aside from making his own photographs, Pierce acquired the negatives and prints of other regional photographers such as Emil Ellis, Parker and Knight, Ramsey, Herve Friend, L.M. Clendenon, George P. Thresher, George Wharton James, and F.M. Huddleston. Pierce eradicated the existing signatures from the photographs, stamped his own name on the images, and organized the lot into subject files. The consequence of Pierce's business practices assured that most, if not all, of the connections between the images and their original creator are now lost. However, the archive which he advertised as the "C.C. Pierce Collection of Rare, Historical and Curious Photographs, Illustrating California, the Pacific Coast and the Southwest," became an invaluable resource for researchers and boosters alike, all of whom came to Pierce's shop to locate an image for their purposes.
C.C. Pierce died on November 7, 1946, at the age of 84. His prints and negatives are dispersed at several Los Angeles-area repositories including the Title Insurance and Trust Company (or Ticor) at the USC Regional History Center; the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History; and UCLA Special Collections. In addition, UCLA acquired the account books of C.C. Pierce's business dealings from 1909 to 1921 (Call # 170/134). The eight volume manuscript ledgers provide a detailed listing of his clients and the nature of the business.

Scope and Contents

The C.C. Pierce collection contains 10,100 historical photographs of early California and Los Angeles that were assembled by Charles C. Pierce, a photographer and long-time operator of a thriving Los Angeles photographic business. The collection is divided into nine topical headings assigned by Pierce: Los Angeles Historical; Indians; Missions; California cities, counties, etc.; Industries and Agriculture, Transportation; Natural History; Art and Architecture; Miscellaneous Scenery. Within these large sections are smaller categories that focus on the history, landscape, people, civic and cultural events, built environment, and development of Southern California and the Southwest from approximately 1845-1930. Of particular interest are the various Indian tribes depicted as well as all twenty-one of the California Missions. Pierce described the latter as "a very extensive and superior collection of this subject, covering a period of over sixty years" that includes copies of paintings and etchings made by Edward Vischer from 1842-1876 and Henry Chapman Ford (1883).
Pierce's practice of copying other photographer's images and supplying his own identification should alert the researcher to treat the descriptive and date information on the photographs with some skepticism.
There are two numbers on the back of each photograph: the regular penciled number is the negative number assigned by Pierce; the red penciled number is that assigned by the Huntington. Researchers should refer to the red number at all times when ordering reproductions.

Arrangement

The original order of the collection has been maintained and all subject headings are those assigned by Pierce himself.
Cards for individual items are filed in subject and geographical sections of the Photo Catalog.

Related Material

See also: C.C. Pierce Negative Collection (photCL 464)   for photographs related to the Charles C. Pierce family and business, including one photograph of the interior of Pierce's last studio at 1572 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles (photCL 464 (1)).
For more information about C.C. Pierce and his business see:
"C.C. Pierce, Photographer," UCLA Librarian (volume 17, no. 10, March 26, 1964), 71-72.
Kurutz, Gary F."'Courtesy of Title Insurance and Trust Company'- The Historical Collection at CHS' Los Angeles History Center," California History (Summer 1978), 186-194.
Smith-Baranzini, Marlene, "The CHS Southern California Historical Collection: New Location and New Opportunities for Historic Research," California History (Winter 1991/1992), 397-398.

Index Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Persons:

Ford, Henry Chapman, 1828-1894.
Vischer, Edward

Places:

Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--19th century--Photographs.
Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--20th century--Photographs.
California--History--Photographs.

Subjects:

Indians of North America--Photographs.
Cities and towns--California--Photographs.
Agriculture--California--Photographs.
Industries--California--Photographs.
Vehicles--California--Photographs.
Plants--California--Photographs.
Animals--California--Photographs.
Adobe houses--California--Photographs.
Landscape--United States--Photographs.
Cityscapes--California--Photographs.
Missions--California--Photographs.

Document Types:

Photographs.


 

Container List

 

Los Angeles Historical

Box 1, Item 1-32

Adams Street, various dates

Box 1, Item 33-172

Broadway, various dates

Box 2, Item 173-178

Broadway, various dates

Box 2, Item 215-260

Figueroa Street, various dates

Box 2, Item 261-324

Hill Street, various dates

Box 3, Item 325-436

Main Street, various dates

Box 3, Item 437-466

Spring Street, various dates

Box 4, Item 467-550

Spring Street, various dates

Box 4, Item 551-561

Whittier Boulevard, various dates

Box 4, Item 562-570

Washington Street, various dates

Box 4, Item 571-596

Western Avenue, various dates

Box 4, Item 597-617

Fifth Street, various dates

Box 5, Item 618-648

Sixth Street, various dates

Box 5, Item 649-670

Seventh Street, various dates

Box 5, Item 671-684

The Plaza, various dates

Box 5, Item 685-754

Miscellaneous, various dates

Box 5, Item 755-774

Architecture, various dates

Box 6, Item 775-803

Architecture, various dates

Box 6, Item 804-817

Fire Department, various dates

Box 6, Item 818-827

Chamber of Commerce, various dates

Box 6, Item 828-933

Parks, various dates

Box 7, Item 934-1028

Aerial Views, various dates

Box 7, Item 1029-1074

Public Buildings, various dates

Box 7, Item 1075-1083

Hotels and Apartments, various dates

Box 8, Item 1084-1154

Historical Los Angeles Miscellaneous, various dates

Box 8, Item 1155-1233

Los Angeles Fiesta, various dates

Box 8, Item 1234-1246

Teddy's Terrors, various dates

Box 9, Item 1247-1419

Sonora Town, various dates

Box 10, Item 1420-1491

Sunset Club, various dates

 

Indians

Box 10, Item 1492-1547

Acoma, various dates

Box 10, Item 1548-1594

Apache, various dates

Box 11, Item 1595-1632

Chemehuevi, various dates

Box 11, Item 1633-1701

Cliff Dwellers, various dates

Box 11, Item 1702-1793

California Indians, various dates

Box 12, Item 1794-1970

Hopi, various dates

Box 13, Item 1971-1980

Hopi Flute Dance, various dates

Box 13, Item 1981-2062

Hopi Snake Dance, various dates

Box 13, Item 2063-2148

Havasupai, various dates

Box 14, Item 2149-2184

Havasu Canyon, various dates

Box 14, Item 2185-2281

Navajo, various dates

Box 14, Item 2282-2346

Pima, various dates

Box 15, Item 2347-2367

Paiute, various dates

Box 15, Item 2368-2375

Mesa (Enchanted), various dates

Box 15, Item 2376-2430

Ramona Subjects, various dates

Box 15, Item 2431-2488

Walapai, various dates

Box 15, Item 2489-2515

Mojave, various dates

Box 15, Item 2516-2523

Sioux (dolls and beads), various dates

Box 16, Item 2524-2546

Yokut, various dates

Box 16, Item 2547-2608

Yuma, various dates

Box 16, Item 2609-2629

Zuni, various dates

Box 16, Item 2630-2679

Unclassified, various dates

 

Missions

Box 17, Item 2680-2776

San Gabriel, various dates

Box 17, Item 2777-2811

San Luis Obispo, various dates

Box 17, Item 2812-2869

San Diego de Alcala, various dates

Box 18, Item 2870-2953

San Luis Rey, various dates

Box 18, Item 2954-2992

Pala Capilla, various dates

Box 18, Item 2993-3003

Ysabel, various dates

Box 19, Item 3004-3146

San Juan Capistrano, various dates

Box 19, Item 3147-3184

Santa Ines, various dates

Box 20, Item 3185-3238

Reina de Los Angeles, various dates

Box 20, Item 3239-3348

San Fernando, various dates

Box 21, Item 3349-3500

Santa Barbara, various dates

Box 22, Item 3501-3528

La Purisima Concepcion, various dates

Box 22, Item 3529-3543

Santa Margarita, various dates

Box 22, Item 3544-3588

San Miguel Archangel, various dates

Box 22, Item 3589-3643

San Antonio de Padua, various dates

Box 22, Item 3644-3652

Soledad, various dates

Box 23, Item 3653-3691

Carmelo, various dates

Box 23, Item 3692-3738

San Carlos Borromeo, various dates

Box 23, Item 3739-3749

Santa Cruz, various dates

Box 23, Item 3750-3772

San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, various dates

Box 23, Item 3773-3805

San Jose de Guadalupe, various dates

Box 24, Item 3806-3836

Santa Clara, various dates

Box 24, Item 3837-3866

San Francisco de Asis Dolores, various dates

Box 24, Item 3867-3871

San Rafael Archangel, various dates

Box 24, Item 3872-3879

San Bernardino, various dates

Box 24, Item 3880-3916

San Juan Bautista, various dates

Box 24, Item 3917-3958

San Buenaventura, various dates

Box 25, Item 3959-3977

Mission Subjects, various dates

Box 25, Item 3978-3995

Father Serra, various dates

Box 25, Item 3996-4077

Vischer Mission Views, various dates

 

California Cities, Counties, etc.

Box 26, Item 4078-4089

Alhambra, various dates

Box 26, Item 4090-4106

Beverly Hills, various dates

Box 26, Item 4107-4202

Catalina, various dates

Box 26, Item 4203-4224

Death Valley, various dates

Box 27, Item 4225-4235

Eagle Rock, various dates

Box 27, Item 4236-4272

Glendale, various dates

Box 27, Item 4273-4301

Highland Park, various dates

Box 27, Item 4302-4374

Hollywood, various dates

Box 28, Item 4375-4500

Hollywood, various dates

Box 28, Item 4501-4530

Long Beach, various dates

Box 29, Item 4531-4596

Long Beach, various dates

Box 29, Item 4597-4610

Monrovia, various dates

Box 29, Item 4611-4680

Monterey and Pacific Grove, various dates

Box 30, Item 4681-4697

Ocean Park, various dates

Box 30, Item 4698-4778

Palm Springs, various dates

Box 30, Item 4779-4828

Pasadena, various dates

Box 31, Item 4829-4959

Pasadena, various dates

Box 31, Item 4960-5009

Mount Lowe, various dates

Box 32, Item 5010-5016

Playa del Rey, various dates

Box 32, Item 5017-5058

Pomona Valley, various dates

Box 32, Item 5059-5090

Redlands, various dates

Box 32, Item 5091-5119

Redondo Beach, various dates

Box 32, Item 5120-5190

Riverside, various dates

Box 33, Item 5191-5218

Sacramento, various dates

Box 33, Item 5219-5254

San Bernardino, various dates

Box 33, Item 5255-5363

San Diego County, various dates

Box 34, Item 5364-5428

Adobes of San Diego County, various dates

Box 34, Item 5429-5515

San Francisco, various dates

Box 35, Item 5516-5556

San Fernando Valley, various dates

Box 35, Item 5557-5605

Santa Barbara, various dates

Box 35, Item 5632-5649

San Pedro, various dates

Box 35, Item 5632-5650

Wilmington, various dates

Box 35, Item 5650-5659

San Pedro, various dates

Box 36, Item 5660-5743

San Pedro, various dates

Box 36, Item 5744-5756

Winchester Spirit House; San Jose, various dates

Box 36, Item 5757-5817

Santa Ana and Orange County, various dates

Box 37, Item 5818-5828

Santa Monica, various dates

Box 37, Item 5829-5998

South Pasadena; San Marino, various dates

Box 38, Item 5999-6008

Lake Tahoe, various dates

Box 38, Item 6009-6018

Venice, various dates

Box 38, Item 6019-6044

Ventura County, various dates

Box 38, Item 6045-6058

Whittier, various dates

Box 38, Item 6059-6075

Wilmington, various dates

Box 38, Item 6076-6166

Yosemite, various dates

Box 39, Item 6167-6240

Colorado River and Salton Sea, various dates

 

Industries and Agriculture

Box 39, Item 6241-6315

Aviation, various dates

Box 39, Item 6316-6323

Fiber Industry, various dates

Box 40, Item 6324-6342

Beet Industry, various dates

Box 40, Item 6343-6405

Forestry and Lumber, various dates

Box 40, Item 6406-6503

Mining (So. Calif., Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada), various dates

Box 41, Item 6504-6557

Mining (So. Calif., Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada), various dates

Box 41, Item 6558-6575

Borax and Salt, various dates

Box 41, Item 6576-6611

Oil Industry, various dates

Box 41, Item 6612-6626

Olive Industry, various dates

Box 42, Item 6627-6748

Fruits and Vegetables, various dates

Box 42, Item 6749-6807

Citrus, various dates

Box 43, Item 6808-6858

Irrigation, various dates

Box 43, Item 6859-6863

Pigeon Ranch, various dates

Box 43, Item 6864-6904

Ranch Scenes, Southern California, various dates

Box 43, Item 6905-6929

Fish and Fisheries, various dates

Box 43, Item 6930-6945

Rancho Santa Anita, various dates

 

Transportation

Box 44, Item 6946-6979

Railway, various dates

Box 44, Item 6980-7000

Water, various dates

Box 44, Item 7001-7069

Street Car, various dates

Box 44, Item 7070-7117

Horses, oxen, etc., various dates

Box 44, Item 7118-7125

Automobiles and Bicycles, various dates

 

Natural History

Box 45, Item 7126-7233

Wild Flowers, various dates

Box 45, Item 7234-7293

Cultivated Flowers, various dates

Box 46, Item 7294-7366

Cultivated Flowers, various dates

Box 46, Item 7367-7461

Cacti, Yucca, Ceres, various dates

Box 47, Item 7462-7497

Big Trees, various dates

Box 47, Item 7498-7508

Birds, various dates

Box 47, Item 7509-7524

Alligators, various dates

Box 47, Item 7525-7589

Animals, various dates

Box 47, Item 7590-7628

Sheep, goats, hogs, bees, various dates

Box 48, Item 7629-7656

Cattle and Horses, various dates

Box 48, Item 7657-7667

Rabbit Drive, various dates

Box 48, Item 7668-7706

Curiosities in Nature, various dates

Box 48, Item 7707-7720

Ostrich Farm, various dates

Box 48, Item 7721-7736

Petrified Forest, various dates

Box 48, Item 7737-7777

Palms and Dracenas, various dates

 

Arts and Architecture

Box 49, Item 7778-7877

Adobes of Northern California, various dates

Box 49, Item 7878-7927

Adobes of Southern California, various dates

Box 50, Item 7928-7992

Adobes of Southern California, various dates

Box 50, Item 7993-8027

Northern California Historical (old buildings, scenes), various dates

Box 50, Item 8028-8067

Southern California Historical, various dates

Box 51, Item 8068-8228

Portraits of Californians, various dates

Box 52, Item 8229-8378

Portraits of Californians, various dates

Box 53, Item 8379-8528

Portraits of Californians, various dates

Box 54, Item 8529-8639

Portraits of Californians, various dates

Box 55, Item 8640-8801

Art Pictures, various dates

Box 56, Item 8802-8834

Mexican Architecture, various dates

 

Miscellaneous Scenery

Box 56, Item 8835-8917

Hawaii, various dates

Box 56, Item 8918-8955

Marine Views, various dates

Box 56, Item 8956-8970

Mt. Shasta, various dates

Box 57, Item 8971-9045

Aerial views of Southern California cities, various dates

Box 57, Item 9046-9062

Taos, New Mexico, various dates

Box 57, Item 9063-9129

Pueblos and cities of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, various dates

Box 58, Item 9130-9196

Mountain scenery, Southern California, various dates

Box 58, Item 9197-9292

Desert subjects, various dates

Box 59, Item 9293-9234

Desert subjects, various dates

Box 59, Item 9235-9292

Western life, various dates

Box 59, Item 9293-9340

Scenery (California, Oregon, and Washington), various dates

Box 59, Item 9341-9392

Vischer Collection, various dates

Box 59, Item 9393-9452

Mexico, various dates

Box 60, Item 9453-9556

Mexico, various dates

Box 60, Item 9557-9621

A.E.F. in France, various dates

Box 61, Item 9622-9781

Colorado, Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail, Lee's Ferry, Grand View Trail, Bass Mystic Springs, various dates

Box 62, Item 9782-9848

Colorado, Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail, Lee's Ferry, Grand View Trail, Bass Mystic Springs, various dates

Box 62, Item 9849-9852

Blue Canyon and Granite Dells, various dates

Box 62, Item 9853-9910

Chinese in California, various dates

Box 63, Item 9911-9971

Churches, various dates

Box 63, Item 9972-10059

Schools and Churches, various dates

Box 63, Item 10060-10066

Stanford University, various dates

Box 63, Item 10067-10100

Sports -- athletics, various dates